Executive Team | BACB

Executive Team

Combining professionalism, leadership and energy

Our people

The heart of our business is about giving our clients access to expertise and experience.

Our executive team leads the business and is responsible for its operational and financial performance. Team members combine experience and expertise across a range of disciplines.


Susie Aliker

Chief Executive

Susie is a natural leader and her specialism lies in international finance. She has nearly 20 years’ experience in financial services and is a qualified accountant and holds an MBA. She leads BACB’s Executive Committee and is an active member of the Board of Directors.

She joined BACB in 2014 and until mid-2018 she was Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary. In this role, she was responsible for all aspects of finance, including business strategy development, as well as being Company Secretary to the Board of Directors. She was appointed onto the Board in September 2017 and into the role of Chief Executive in June 2018.

Susie’s career began on the Unilever graduate training programme, following which she worked in corporate finance and strategic planning roles in the retail sector. She joined Credit Suisse in 1998, and over a 14 year period held a number of global management roles and was ultimately responsible for new business for all divisions of Credit Suisse across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Susie is a former governor of the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and has a deep knowledge of East Africa, having travelled extensively across the region. Susie is married to a Ugandan lawyer and has four daughters.

Celeste Du Plessis 2019

Celeste du Plessis

Chief Financial Officer

As CFO, Celeste is responsible for all matters related to finance at BACB, including strategic planning, reporting and financial control.

Before joining the bank, Celeste’s career spanned a period of over 20 years at leading global financial institutions, most recently Standard Chartered Bank in London, where she was the Financial Controller for the UK. Prior to that Celeste worked in a variety of professional capacities at Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Schroders in London and PricewaterhouseCoopers in South Africa.

Born and raised in South Africa, Celeste qualified as a Chartered Accountant prior to relocating to the UK.

Celeste is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. She is married to a lawyer and has three children.

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Chris Strong

Chief Risk Officer

Chris Strong became chief risk officer for BACB in 2014, bringing to the bank a wealth of expertise in helping organisations develop a robust governance and risk management culture.

He joined BACB from Stemcor, an international company providing services to the steel industry, where he had been risk director. He was formerly head of group risk for Close Brothers, chief financial officer Europe (global markets) for JP Morgan and a partner at Ernst & Young.

Chris takes a hands-on approach to the management of BACB’s market, credit and operational risk, calling on experience that spans finance, risk and governance across banking, securities trading, corporate finance and asset management.

Chris is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and an Affiliate of the Institute of Risk Management.

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Paul Rew

Chief Operations & Controls Officer

Paul joined BACB in 2014 and has overall responsibility for the efficiency and effectiveness of the Bank’s first line controls.

Paul has many years of internal control and operational risk management experience in the UK and emerging markets. His roles have included group head of operational risk at Standard Bank Group, UK head of internal audit and control for BNP Paribas, and director: operational risk consulting with Deloitte (and formerly with Andersen).

A qualified chartered accountant with strong technical, analytical and management skills, he began his career in an audit and business advisory role with Arthur Andersen.

J Cantamantu Koomson nr bw

James Cantamantu-Koomson

Managing Director of Corporate & Institutional Banking

James is a truly pan-African banker. At BACB, he is responsible for providing overall direction to the bank’s business origination and client relationship management function. Managing a team of 40 corporate and institutional bankers, James is in charge of building, growing and managing BACB’s client-centric sales and business origination model. James is based at the bank’s headquarters in London.

Before joining BACB, James was based in Ghana as Group Head for Regional Corporates for Ecobank, having worked and lived in a number of African markets, as well as in London. He is a sound, well-rounded and experienced banker with a strong banking foundation that he acquired over many years with Standard Chartered, prior to joining Ecobank.

He held a number of different product and coverage functions within Ecobank and Standard Chartered, including Group Coverage Head for Regional Corporates and Public Corporates for Ecobank, CEO of Ecobank Tanzania, East Africa Regional Head of Corporate Finance for Standard Chartered, and Africa Coverage Head for Financial Institutions & Development Organizations for Standard Chartered.

Bhavesh Dattani

Bhavesh Dattani

Managing Director,General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer

Bhavesh is a UK qualified lawyer with two decades of multi-jurisdictional legal and compliance experience, having worked in sell-side investment banks and broker dealers including J.P.Morgan, Lehman Brothers and Nomura. Bhavesh’s particular expertise is in advising upon, structuring and executing complex cross border derivatives and capital market transitions.

In recent roles, Bhavesh has established and developed Legal, Compliance and Anti-Financial crime programmes with a geographical focus on emerging markets. Bhavesh has a committed focus and passion for diversity initiatives and was previously a non-executive director for a non-profit organization focused on children’s education in schools in India.

Helen Curtis 2019

Helen Curtis

Director of Human Resources

Helen has firmly established herself as a People leader across the financial and professional services sectors over the course of her 20 year career. She joined BACB in 2016 and is responsible internationally for employment, recruitment, workplace conduct, culture and training matters. She represents the bank through industry associations and events and leads the Human Resources team.

Before joining BACB she was previously HR Director at JLT Group and has held posts at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Towers Watson.

Helen holds a degree from Kingston University and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

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